Estonian start-up is the winner of the International PowerUp! Competition

Zubax Robotics from Estonia is the winner of this year’s edition of the international PowerUp! competition for cleantech start-ups. The team presented their project, which provides 10% more energy-efficient electric motor controllers for aerospace applications. 

Zubax’s technology allows electric vehicles (especially aircraft) to travel further using less energy from the battery, thus alleviating one of the most significant obstacles in the way of total electrification of all kinds of transport. Zubax was awarded € 30,000 and a chance to be invited to the prestigious InnoEnergy Highway® accelerator.


“We applied to the competition because it seemed very relevant, as this contest helps technological advancement for startups as it provides funding and support to innovative ideas, teams. Winning the competition is a very motivating surprise, we knew that we had a good idea and a good product that has potential. We are planning to use our prize and invest it into further development of the product and take our market presence into the next level.” – said Pavel Kirienko, CEO at Zubax.

Estonian teams have brought two winner’s titles and one runner-up prize from the same competition before. 

“Participation and acknowledgement in such a high-profile international competition shows that Estonian cleantech start-ups are forward-thinking and competitive on the global scale. Naturally, winning the contest is a great achievement and recognition, but international contacts, ideas and training available for competition participants can be considered more valuable,” said Heleri Holm, the project manager at Tehnopol Startup Incubator and the competition ambassador in Estonia.

“In the seven years since its launch, InnoEnergy has invested in innovative projects with a total value of € 2 billion. Thanks to our support, eighty products have so far been brought to market. Now Zubax has this amazing opportunity – says Christo Balinow, Business Development Director of InnoEnergy Central Europe, the Chairman of the Jury.”

The title of runner-up and a €10,000 prize was awarded to WellParko from Lithuania. Third place and € 5,000 went to the team Neuron Soundware from Czechia.

During the Grand Final in Prague, 15 start-ups presented their solutions before the jury, investors and media representatives. These were the winners of the Country Finals which took place in Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Greece. The finalists were selected from 299 teams from the 24 Central European countries who applied to the competition. The stakes were high as the Highway® accelerator is one of the best programmes in the cleantech sector in Europe.  

What makes PowerUp! stand out from other start-up competitions are its Bootcamps: before the Grand Final, the participants spent two days testing their business models and taking their presentation skills to another level under the guidance of experienced mentors.

Zsolt Winkler, Head of the Open Innovation Hub at MOL Group and a member of the Jury commented: “PowerUp! feeds us with fresh, crisp ideas and solutions from all around the region. We are proud to be sponsoring the event for the second time. Engaging with start-ups through competitions like this plays an extremely important role in our strategy.”

Ms. Gul Erol, Head of Information Technologies at Enerjisa, particularly appreciated the level of the competition: “We know we can grow into the fast-changing future with sustainable solutions via innovative and agile startup partnerships. Our company is proud to be a part of the PowerUp! competition, which brings us together with the most fascinating ideas from all over Europe.”

Michał Maćkowiak, head of Innovation Rafako S.A., also thought that the level of competition was very high this year and said: “We are very pleased this year that not only companies from the energy industry, but also those from the spheres of electromobility or smart cities took part in the competition. The competition is developing in the same direction as RAFAKO, in that it is looking for opportunities in addition to the energy industry to diversify revenues in the areas mentioned above.” 

PowerUp!, the competition for start-ups from Central and Eastern Europe, is organized by EIT InnoEnergy, whose representative in Estonia is Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol.

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